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Having recently tried some Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders in my Tele, I decided to go back to more early fifties vibe pickups. I've had Bare Knuckle Blackguard Flat 52's previously and also a Brown Sugar Bridge and wanted to go back in that general direction. The QP's are a great set of pickups, and surprisingly nice for cleans (especially the neck), but as you can imagine lack a bit of the sparkle of lower wound pickups.
The Nocasters immediately felt closer to what I'm used to. Actually if anything, first impression was that they may be a little too polite. The neck is nice, perhaps not as Stratty as the BKP flat '52, but has a nice bright neck tone. The bridge definitely twangs, and although not very hot, has some nice grunt, especially pushing a loud amp. My initial assessment of them being polite may have been partly from going from a 16k pickup to a 7k model and turning up loud last night and getting a chance to push the amp gave me a better picture.
The clip below is mainly bridge pickup, it starts on the neck for a few seconds then goes to the bridge. I wasn't recording this as a demo, just happened to be working on a tune and hit record whilst I jammed over the progression, which is a part finished tune.. The bridge pickup doesn't sustain like the Duncan, you have to dig in harder, but when you do are rewarded with a wonderful cutting Albert Collins like tone. I'm very happy with that and it suits the guitar perfectly (fat maple neck and swamp ash body). So overall I'd give the neck 7/10 and the bridge 9/10, overall score for the set 8/10. They stand up well to the BK's I've had, although the flat 50's with their higher output (but not mega Quarter Pounder output) would be something I'd like to try one day (as I said, previously I had the lower output flat '52's)
Amp is a Fender PRRI, pedal is a Cleggy Gind Customs Catch 22 (loosely based on a Timmy) , volume around 4 with the pedal pushing quite a lot. Oh, and the pots are 500k, I put them in for the Duncan's and didn't get round to swapping them back to 250k.